Saturday, 26 January 2013


Pages: 294
Date: 25/01/2013
Grade: 5-
Details:  No. 1 the Pleasure Dome Trilogy
             Received from Black Lace
             Through Nudge

Dylan Ivory is an author of erotic romances. In her next book she wants to explore a BDSM relationship but she is well aware that she doesn’t know enough about the subject to write a credible story. In order to do her work justice she sets out to interview people involved in power-exchange relationships and ends up meeting Alec Walker, a very attractive and very dominant man. It isn’t long into their first meeting that Alec issues Dylan with a challenge. Instead of telling her what it is like to be Dominant or what is involved in a BDSM relationship he will show her. Because:

“You cannot begin to describe the dynamics involved without having been there.”

He will take her in hand and train her, as the submissive he’s convinced she is. Dylan however is sure that she doesn’t have a submissive bone in her body. She has had to be in control for most of her life and likes it that way. She does accept the challenge though; on the condition that once it is clear that he has failed at “taming” her she gets the opportunity to top Alex. It soon becomes clear though that this is one power-exchange in which both participants will learn new things about themselves.

I really like this book. I like that there is no overpowering male more or less bullying the innocent young woman into something she knows nothing about. I like that Dylan went into this arrangement with her eyes wide open, willing to try even if she didn’t think being submissive would work for her. And I liked that Alec took the time to explain things to her, was happy to take it slowly even though his own need was enormous. I loved that there was no threat attached to the use of the safe-word. It might end the scene, but not necessarily every contact between the two of them.

“It’s hard to let it all go, to hand over your power to another person. Just remember there is power in doing that. In making that choice.”

I also liked that this is a story about equals. Dylan and Alec may be in a power exchange relationship, but we’re not dealing with a strong and a weak character. Both Dylan and Alec are extremely independent, and guard that independence jealously. And that is the one and only issue in their relationship. As the experiment slowly turns into a need to be together, neither are able to deal with it or to recognise their feelings for what they are. They may have their own personal reasons for rejecting commitment and love, but their feelings on this point are equally strong for both of them.

There is real character development in this book. I really enjoyed the process Dylan went through from complete denial of certain feelings through fighting them to accepting them for what they were. And the same is true for Alex; he too has to open himself up to emotions he has denied for as long as he can remember. And I liked that the BDSM experience the two characters shared works both as a mechanism for them to get to that acceptance and a sort of metaphor for the process.

On the back cover it says that this book is “perfect for fans for E.L. James and Sylvia Day” and I completely understand why. Having said that, I would rate this book higher than the works of either of those authors. First and foremost because the characters in this book are easier to relate to than those in the “Fifty Shades” and “Crossfire” trilogies. Dylan and Alec are less extreme (in wealth, in innocence, in damage from the past and in their reactions) than the characters in those other books. I also like that in this book we got the thoughts of both main characters rather than only one of them.

As for the sex; well, it’s hot and there is plenty of it. And the wonderful thing is that in this story it makes perfect sense for the sex to play a dominant (pun intended) role. The set-up of this story demands that the main characters get up close and personal quickly and quite often. And they do. The way in which the attraction Alec and Dylan feel for each other is described is beautiful and sensuous. The feelings Alec awakens in Dylan are mind-blowing. I loved the descriptions of Dylan losing herself almost as soon as Alec got his hands on her. And I loved the feelings Dylan’s submission brought up in Alec.

I was delighted that the set-up of the book allowed the author to give explanations about BDSM, power-exchange and subspace all within the context of the story. I never felt I was being taught anything and yet I learned a lot.

“Part of his job as a dominant was to elicit some sort of response from her.”

“With power comes responsibility. I need to have some insight into how you’ll respond when we play and why. So that I can properly care for you.”

“What matters are the gifts of trust and energy they exchange. That’s the beautiful part. That’s what it’s all about, Dylan.”

“Mind-fuck is an inevitable part of the process.”
This book is very well written, hot and totally engrossing. I am already looking forward to reading the second book, “Desire’s Edge”, in the not too distant future.

Monday, 21 January 2013


Pages: 133
Date: 21/01/2013
Grade: 3+
Details: no. 1 Just One Night
            Received from Simon & Schuster
            Through NetGalley
"Kasie knows who she’s supposed to be. But one passionate night with a mysterious stranger will teach her who she wants to be."

They say that what happens in Vegas should stay in Vegas. But what if it follows you home and shows up in your workplace? That’s the “problem” Kasie Fitzgerald faces after her completely out of character one-night-stand with Robert Dade. Katie has been with her partner, Dave, for six years and is more or less engaged to him, even if she doesn’t wear his ring yet. And for all that time Dave has been exactly what Kasie needed:
“Dave was steady (…) steady seemed nice…even sexy”
But now, one reckless night in Vegas later, steady doesn’t seem so attractive anymore. Robert Dade has awakened desires in Kasie that are as hard to ignore as he is. And Robert Dade is very determined to make sure that Kasie will acknowledge and give in to her wilder side, with him. When Dade offers Kasie the career opportunity she’s been yearning for, he makes sure that she has to continue meeting him. And for some reason every meeting with this man ends up with Kasie doing exactly that which she know she shouldn’t but can’t refuse.
Torn between obligation and adventure, safety and excitement, between what she thinks she should be and what she really is Kasie ends up stringing not two but three people along. And lying to the two men in her life as well as to herself is never going to lead to anything but trouble.
I wasn’t overly endeared by this story. While I realise that a love-triangle can be very exciting this one just made me feel a bit dirty. It is hard to ignore that Kasie’s behaviour towards Dave is completely unfair. For six years he’s been dating a certain woman; someone he assumed was steady and unadventurous, just like him. And it is not his fault if Kasie has been playing that role so well that he never guessed there was another side to her. And the way in which Kasie treats Dade isn’t much better. The conflicting signals she’s sending him right from the start have him second guessing her all the time, never sure which version of Kasie will turn up the next time. And don’t get me started about Kasie herself; she is in denial to such an extent that it is hard to believe she actually has a brain to think or a heart to feel with.
Kasie’s confusion about the situation she finds herself in is played out through an internal devil and angel fighting for Kasie’s attention, which got irritating. First of all because I met their cousins before, and they annoyed me on our first encounter as well. And secondly because they seem like an easy way out for the author. There must be better, more nuanced, ways of describing the internal turmoil Kasie is experiencing. This use of devils and angels conjures up cartoonish pictures in my head, not erotic or clever ones.
While the writing in this book is smooth, I also felt it was trying to be a bit too clever at times. We only get the story from Kasie’s point of view and the way in which her thought processes worked just didn’t ring true. A third party observer might have described her thoughts and feelings as they are conveyed in this book, as first person thoughts they just didn’t work.
This book has been categorised as erotic fiction in various places. I wouldn’t go that far though. I would call this a contemporary romance. Yes, we do get some bedroom action in this story but it is rather mild and not very explicit. I can’t see the content of this book offending or shocking even the most modest reader of the romance genre. The story gets most explicit when it describes the fantasies Kasie and her friend have. But even those voyeuristic longings aren't very exciting, exactly because they are fantasies. It seems to me that the author wanted to play it safe as much as she wanted to introduce some erotic scenes. This book would have been hot if those fantasies had been things the characters actually indulged in and if the author had allowed for more detail in the descriptions of the sexual encounters that do take place. As it is I would describe this book as luke warm, rather than hot.
The reasons I’ve rated this book three stars despite my objections to the story-line are that the book is well written and that I like the potential this story idea has. Executed just a little bit differently I probably would have loved this book. As it is, reading this book made me a bit angry. And that in itself is another reason for my rating; a story that evokes emotions in a reader has merit, regardless of what those emotions are. And then there is the one thing I do really like about this book: the title. Because, who exactly is the stranger? Is it Robert Dade, or is it Kasie herself? I do like it when a book makes me think as well as feel.
Summarising I would say that for me this was a book with an interesting story-idea which could have been so much more if executed in a slightly different way.

Sunday, 20 January 2013


Pages: 294
Date: 19/01/2013
Grade: 4
Details: Received from Penguin UK
              Through Nudge

Lady Isabel Pelham is a 26 year old widow, happy to live the rest of her life fleeting from lover to lover and never marrying again. When the man she loved deeply and married betrayed her in ways that broke her heart she vowed she’d never make herself that vulnerable again, and she’s determined to keep her word.

Gerard Faulkner, the Marquess of Grayson is 22 year old. The woman he loves has married somebody else, and although he enjoys his flirtations and nights with various women he is tired of being looked at as profitable marriage material.

The solution seems simple. If Grayson and Pelham were to marry each other they could both continue their scandalous life-style without being bothered by people wanting more than just an affair. It seems a good plan and for the first few months after their marriage it works out fine. When a personal loss hits Grayson hard he leaves London and his new wife behind for destinations unknown.

Four years later Grayson returns to London a changed man. No longer is he looking for adventure and lust. He has grown up and wants his marriage to be real instead of the sham Isabel and he agreed upon years ago. Isabel though is convinced that this can never work. Grayson is too much like her first husband; he too will get bored with her and betray her. And there is no way she could survive such a betrayal again. With Isabel determined to keep her husband as a platonic friend and their life-style unchanged, Grayson will have to convince her that he is indeed a changed man. During what is a sensuous process of seduction, Grayson slowly manages to lower the walls surrounding Isabel’s heart. But with outside forces determined to break them and their scandalous marriage up and their own painful past experiences making them cautious, the couple is going to need to rely on and trust in each other implicitly if they want to have a chance at a future.

Set in the first half of the 19th century this is a charming and very sensual historical romance; the story about a man and a woman who are made for each other but are unable to see that clearly for themselves. I liked the way the two main characters sparked together, the way in which they were able to get the worst but also the best out of each other. The dialogue between them is clever, runs smoothly and is written in such a way that it is almost possible to actually hear their voices.

The fact that the romance between these two characters is almost exclusively conducted in the bedroom may put some readers off. Having said that, while there may be a lot of, quite vividly described, intimacy in these pages, the content of this book is never shocking nor intended to be.

I guess this story and the characters in it are a bit simplistic. Characters are either wonderful and charming or horrid and selfish. And the story has a typical romance story-arc; strong lust and a reluctance to talk about the things that matter and could avoid confusion is nothing new or original. However, when those ingredients are encountered in a well written and entertaining story they tend to add to it rather than detract, and that is certainly true in this book.

I’m not quite sure why the author felt the need to include the story about Isabel’s brother Rhys and the “unsuitable” woman he falls for. Not that their story wasn’t interesting, but it didn’t add anything to the real subject of the book. In fact, I think that story-line could easily have warranted a book of its own.

Written by the author of the Crossfire series, this is a well written, easy to read and very sensual romance; a book sure to be enjoyed by anybody who likes their historical romance a bit spicy.


AUTHOR: Marc Shapiro
Pages: 176
Date: 14/01/2013
Grade: 3.5
Details: Non Fiction
              Received from Riverdale Avenue Books
              Through NetGalley
“You know erotica has truly arrived when you can buy Fifty Shades of grey and creamed corn in the same place.”
I am not entirely sure what to say about the content of this book, so I will start with a copy of the blurb:
“Discover the secrets behind the Red Room of Pain. The intricacies of making love in the backseat of an expensive sports car. The rough and tumble process of editing Fifty Shades of Grey. Find out where the name E.L. James really comes from. And finally the step by step process by which this middle-aged British mother of two came up with the international best-selling erotic romance series that has sold more copies than Harry Potter.
NY Times best-selling biographer Marc Shapiro uncovers the inspiration and secrets behind this writing sensation, explaining how she did it with exclusive interviews with her editors and early fans. Marc Shapiro is the NY Times best-selling author of J.K. Rowling: The Wizard Behind Harry Potter, Justin Bieber: The Fever! and many other best-selling celebrity biographies. He has been a free-lance entertainment journalist for more than twenty-five years, covering film, television, and music for a number of national and international newspapers and magazines.”
Sounds interesting, doesn’t it? Except that it wasn’t, not really. To be honest, I do understand that it can’t be easy to write an un-authorized biography these days. With all sorts of information about virtually everybody freely available on the internet and the books' subject not participating in the work, it must be all but impossible to come up with information that isn’t already widely available in the public arena. And writing a book about a phenomenon like E.L. James and her trilogy only makes that problem bigger. The lady and her books have been written and talked about by anybody and everybody; from professional reviewers and journalists to fellow authors and enthusiastic amateurs like me. So my first observation about this book is that it didn’t contain anything that was new or surprising to me and it would astonish me if anybody else interested in this author were to find anything they didn’t already know in this book. 
My second observation is that the blurb makes this book sound a bit more exciting than it actually is. For example, if you’re hoping to discover something tittalating about that “red room of pain” you are setting yourself up for disappointment. Yes, the room gets mentioned, but not in the way you might imagine or hope.
And then there are the mistakes. I came across two bits of information that I know for sure were wrong. Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight books are a quartet and not a trilogy as stated in this work. And “Need” by Sherri Hayes is not her second book, although it is the second title in her wonderful “Finding Anna” series. The worry of course is that if I can pick up on two mistakes this easily, there could well be a lot more misinformation here that I haven’t picked up on. I don’t know and am willing to give Mr. Shapiro the benefit of the doubt but I would say: reader beware.
And finally I want to point out one inconsistency that annoyed me. In the first part of the book, when Marc Shapiro writes about the days when James first started writing her story, he states that she wrote for her personal pleasure with no thoughts of getting published, never mind fame and fortune. By the time he gets to the end of the book though, he is suddenly telling us what a clever business woman she is and that she had been planning her marketing strategy from a very early stage. Obviously it can only be one or the other, and this book doesn’t tell us which one it is.
So, after all those complaints, why did I still rate this book 3.5 stars? First and foremost because it was an easy and smooth read. I flew through the pages and enjoyed some of the quotes I ran across:
I liked the answer James’ husband gave when asked what it was like being married to an author of erotic fiction: “Mostly it’s just like being married
And the following two from James herself:
"There are a lot of ways to describe an orgasm. But at a certain point I ran out of ways."
"I think first person point of view is much easier to write than third person point of view. So naturally I took the easy way out."
I also think this might be a nice little book for anyone who wants to have all their information on E.L. James together in one place. Marc Shapiro has taken all the bits and pieces available in the media and arranged them in a very accessible way, saving fans the trouble of having to do the work themselves. And with James having many millions of enthusiastic fans I am sure there is a good market for this book.
I also liked the extra information available after the actual biography has concluded:  discographies, of the classical albums as well as the list as blogged by James, a history of erotic fiction and a piece on Cinema Erotic.
This is a nice little book about an interesting author provided you’re not hoping to discover anything you didn’t already know.


Pages: 80
Date: 14/01/2013
Grade: 4+
Details: Authors also write as Evie Hunter
Lexi is a curvy woman aged 39 with angel wings tattooed on her back, who has more or less given up on her erotic dreams. With her marriage to a boring and cheating vanilla man behind her, she enjoys reading and fantasising about submitting to a powerful Dom, but she has no expectations of that ever really happening.
Sam is one of the Doms running Hades but hasn’t been involved with the club or the BDSM lifestyle since he married his now ex-wife. He has been admiring Lexi from a distance for a while when an unexpected session of telephone sex shows him that his dream woman is a natural submissive and provides him an opportunity to get her to visit his club.
Lexi has no idea what to expect when she enters Hades and she never dreamt that she would be seduced and pleasured by four masked Doms. Her introduction into this sensuous world is cut short when the scene is rudely interrupted by very unwelcome intruders. Embarrassed and confused Lexi flees the club and determines to have nothing to do with her anonymous Dom or his world again. Sam meanwhile is angry that his perfectly planned evening has come to nothing and is determined to get his “angel” back, even if it means pretending to the perfect vanilla boyfriend. Of course, pretending to be something you’re not always carries the risk of severe consequences when your deception is discovered. And Lexi is not one to be messed with.
This was a wonderful little novella. The story had everything a reader could wish for; realistic and interesting main characters, a captivating and believable story-line and a wonderful happy ending. Sam and Lexi go through their fair share of drama, but none of it was dragged out to the point where it gets frustrating. Both Sam and Lexi have their flaws and quirks as well as their charms and that makes them a pleasure to read about.
And talking about pleasure; the erotic scenes in this book were yummy. Whether it was the phone-sex, Lexi’s encounter with the four Doms or her drinks with Sam near the end of the book the descriptions of what they get up to and how it makes them feel would heat up an ice-cube. The BDSM in this book is of the milder variety, but with Lexi being new to the experience that makes perfect sense; anything more would have stretched the imagination too far. I know I’m going to have fun imagining where Sam might be taking his angel next.
The fact that Lexi, despite being a natural sub, is no push-over gave this book a nice added edge. I loved the way in which she managed to surprise Sam and make him think about what he was doing to her. There’s nothing quite like a strong female character submitting but not surrendering to her Master.
I really enjoyed this story. If I had a complaint it would be that it wasn’t any longer. I would have loved to read more about Lexi and Sam and the antics they get up to, especially the further exploration of Lexi’s new found sexual pleasures. I also hope that this will turn out to be the first book in a series. After all, Hades has more Doms and I’m sure they would like to find their special subs, just like Sam did. My only worry is that now that the authors, in their guise of Evie Hunter, have been offered a more main-line publishing contract, Hades and its members may end up on the backburner. I can only hope that I will be proven wrong on that point.
For more by these authors, writing as Evie Hunter,  have a look at my thoughts on The Pleasures of Winter and A Touch of Winter.


AUTHOR: Nathan L. Flamank
Pages: ???
Date: 07/01/2013
Grade: 3
Details: A Seth & Amber Erotic Tale

It is Seth’s thirtieth birthday and his wife Amber wants to give him an extra special present. But what do you give a man who has everything his heart desires, the man you love dearly and who has given you so much happiness? Amber’s solution is to give Seth a cheque-book containing 24 cheques. Each cheque represents one wish Amber will fulfil for Seth. What Amber hadn’t quite counted on is Seth’s clever but devious mind. He will only need to use two of his cheques to get everything he wants from her, indefinitely. The birthday weekend will be exhilarating, with both Amber and Seth discovering desires and pleasures they had never considered before.

Well, I guess the love affair couldn’t last indefinitely. Eventually I was bound to come across an erotic book that would fail to entice me.

I really liked the idea behind the story. The present of a cheque book with 24 checks, each representing a wish, is a good one and gives the author endless potential. I also liked the way in which Seth surprised his wife with his first wish. In fact, at that early point in the story my expectations were high.

But then it was as if the author went into overdrive. It was almost as if the author had been told that he would only be allowed to write one, short, book and he felt the need to put every single idea he had ever had into that one story. Everything you could possibly imagine was squashed into this one book. We have sex scene after sex scene but we also get an enormous amount of, at times unnecessary, background information.
We didn’t need to know about Amber being unable to conceive children or Seth’s troubled childhood in order to follow them on their weekend of sexual exploration. Nor was there any need to mention Amber’s unpleasant family. None of these issues or people play a role in or influence the story; they don’t add anything but rather distract from the events during the weekend.
I can only guess that the author had heard or read somewhere that readers like it when the characters in a story are fleshed out a bit and decided to do just that. And it might have worked if this had been a full length novel. With this being a rather short novella, everything in the book felt rushed. The reader is given details of Seth and Amber’s lives, their backgrounds, their families and their sexual relations. We were told a lot about what they did, where they came from and their emotions but I never felt any of it. In fact I found myself caring very little for the characters and the descriptions of their sexual adventures left me mostly cold. And that can’t possibly be right when you’re reading an erotic story.

As for those sexual adventures there is not a whole lot Amber and Seth don’t try over the course of one weekend. We read about public sex, voyeurism, water-sports, masturbation and domination to name but a few. But again, it is rushed. The term “slam, bang, thank you ma’am” springs to mind. And I can’t help wondering if the fact that this book was written by a man has anything to do with my issues with this book. Is it down to the male perspective that this book seemed to be more about intercourse than intimacy. Or am I just being horribly sexist here?

If I had been able to talk to this author before he decided to publish this book I would have told him to go back to his drawing-board, take all his, rather good, ideas and allow for another 200 pages or so to flesh them out. The reason I’m rating this book as many as three stars is that I liked the idea and can see what this story could potentially be. I’m just sorry that this book didn’t turn out to be what I hoped to find when I read the description on Amazon.




Pages: 408p

Date: 05/01/2013

Grade: 4.5

Details: no. 5 Knights of the Board Room

              Received from Ellora’s Cave

              Through NetGalley


It wasn’t about denigrating a woman’s independence. It had nothing to do with the men’s opinion of female capability, but everything to do with their absolute conviction that a man’s role was to protect and cherish.”

Ben is the only one of his friends still single. The other four Knights of the Board Room have found their submissive soul-mates and have started their happily every after. Ben tells himself this doesn’t bother him. He knows he is the most hardcore Dominant of the group, he just wasn’t made for a lasting relationship; short-term one-off scenes without emotional entanglements are more his style and he has no intention of changing that.

Marcie has been in love with Ben since she was sixteen. As she grew up and discovered exactly what sort of relationships the other knights had with their women she also realised that she, like her sister and the other women, is a submissive. But Marcie is a smart girl and for years she’s allowed Ben to treat her like a close friend while treating him the same. Now that she is 23 years old and finished with her studies, Marcie is ready to show Ben exactly what she is and that not only does she love, want and need him but that, deep down, he feels the same about her.

As Marcie and Ben spend time together the Dom realises that Marcie touches him in ways that scare him; she makes him feel things he didn’t know he could feel and, more importantly, doesn’t want to feel. And if the only way to get her out of his life again is by emotionally hurting her in a way he would never physically hurt her, he’ll do just that. Even if that course of action brings with it the risk of alienating his life-long friends as well. What Ben hasn’t counted on is that although Marcie may be submissive in every way it counts, she wouldn’t submit if it means giving up on her own happily ever after with the man she has loved for so long. She may be wishing for unconditional surrender to Ben, but that won’t stop her from mounting a hostile take-over if that’s the only way to get what they both want.

What we have here is a work of pure erotica. While it is a typical romance in structure and ending, it is anything but when it comes to the content for the story. Most of the story in this book is told through Ben and Marcie’s sexual exploits. The relationship between the two main characters, who have known each other for years, develops almost exclusively through their intimate encounters. And these are not sweet or romantic encounters in a traditional sense. Ben is both a Dom and a sadist; he needs to inflict pain in order to be able to enjoy the encounter himself. And Marcie is a submissive who soon discovers that she is also a masochist. The pain Ben inflicts on her brings her to a level of ecstasy she didn’t know she could reach. There are several scenes in this book that might shock many, although I have to admit I found them rather exciting. First and foremost there is the level of pain that is inflicted on the more than willing but inexperienced Marcie.

“There’s this threshold of panic, where you realize that he has all the control. I’m not talking the safe word thing or being able to call a halt. He’s plucked your free will right out of your hands, and you let him have it, and you don’t want it back. That’s what scares you shitless. You’re just all his, and that’s all you ever want to be. When you come out of the experience, you feel a bit like a kid coming out of a scary ride at Disneyland. Did that really happen? Will you have the courage to ride again? And you know you will.”

Taken from Korner Kafe Exposed

But we’re also reading about a rather public scene of oral sex, some all female action and one occasion on which Marcie is shared between the five Knights. One thing I couldn’t quite get my head around is the concept of Consensual Non-Consent. I just can’t get a handle of the idea that you would agree to anyone ignoring your safe word unless they decided there was a medical necessity to stop. I mean, unless your partner happens to be a fully qualified medical doctor, how would they be able to assess that? Mind you, within the context of the story even this idea worked for me, but it did have me wondering about how that could possibly work in a non-fictional scenario.

Even bearing in mind the things I couldn’t quite get my head around this book worked for me. I can’t imagine getting excited by pain like Marcie does in this story but the way her building excitement was described made me almost wish that I could and I never for one moment doubted that for her it was pure and deep pleasure.

All of the above doesn’t mean there aren’t touching and incredibly tender moments in this story too. At one point I was reading with tears in my eyes because of the way in which Ben opened up to his past, his emotions and the love he had been denying (himself) for so long.

Marcie is a wonderful character. At heart a true submissive, she has the strength and courage to push the man she wants to dominate her. The way she is described in this book made me feel I really got to know, like and admire her. Ben, on the other hand, can be harder to like on several occasions, culminating in one passage where I would have lovingly beat the shit out of him. But this does make him a more realistic character and does add to the tension in the story.

The writing in this book is smooth and the dialogue flows naturally. The author has given us characters we can recognise and sympathise with in a story that is captivating, exhilarating and, when all is said and done, a wonderful love story.

This is the fifth book in a series, but since I haven’t read the first four books I can confidently say that it can be read as a stand-alone. Of course if you were to do that you do run the risk that, like me, you end up buying the first book even before you finish this one.


Pages: 352
Date: 01/01/2013
Grade: 4-
Details: no. 1 Stark Trilogy
              Received from Random House
              Through NetGalley

When Nikki Fairchild first met Damian Stark she was still in the beauty pageant circuit she hated. Although she felt a strong attraction to him she found herself completely tongue-tied. When he left with another woman on that occasion she had the impression that he was sorry he had to leave, but that, she decides, was probably wishful thinking.

When Nikki meets Damian again she has finished college, left her overbearing mother and Texas behind her and has just started a new job in Los Angeles. She is at a private showing of erotic paintings with her boss who hopes to meet the rich and powerful Mr. Stark to interest him in sponsoring a product he’s developing. Nikki is there as the beautiful body to help clinch the deal. From the moment Damian and Nikki set eyes on each other there is electricity in the air. He intimidates her yet she feels a constant and irresistible pull towards him. And the pull appears mutual. In fact, Damian has a proposition for her; since he can’t find an erotic painting that works for him he wants her to model for one for one week; one week during which she will give herself to him completely. In return he will give her one million dollars. Since Nikki has dreams of starting her own company and is secretly excited about spending that week submitting herself to this man, she says yes. But, agreeing to his terms means showing all of herself to Damian and that includes the scars from the past she so desperately wants to hide; scars that may scare him away for ever. And she’s not the only one with issues; Damian has a few of his own and he is determined to keep them secret, even from the woman he feels irresistibly drawn towards.

With personal issues between them and outside forces determined to destroy Damian, these two lovers have the odds stacked against them. The question is whether or not the forces that pull them together are strong enough to combat those that are trying to keep them apart.

If you think the above description of the plot sounds (vaguely) familiar you are right. In my other blog, More Than a Reading Journal, you can read exactly what I thought about the similarities between this book and others as well as my reflections on those who felt the need to complain about those.

As for the erotic content in this book I would categorize it has sensual rather than sexy. While the description above seems to imply that this story has BDSM elements in it, I wouldn’t go as far as calling it that. There is some (very) light bondage but in my opinion it is unlikely to shock most people. Damian is definitely a more experienced lover than Nikki and determined to introduce her to new pleasures but this is done at her pace rather than his insistence. This is, more than anything else, a very well written and sensual love story.

I feel the author dealt very well with Nikki’s issues. It is clear from early on in the story that the scars she bears are the result of Nikki cutting herself. And although Nikki hasn’t resorted to that form of stress-relief in three years the urge is still strong whenever life throws her for a hurtful loop. The fact that the author made it clear that this is an ongoing issue rather than one that was miraculously cured gives both Nikki and the story a level of realism that the book greatly benefits from. I really hope that Damian’s issues, when they are brought to the forefront, will be dealt with in a similar way.

I’m not overly fond of the first-person narrative in this book. Having only Nikki’s perspective on what is going on means that the reader never gets a first-hand insight into Damian’s thoughts and feelings. I can’t help feeling that I would have enjoyed this story more if I had also been able to look into Damian’s mind. But that may well be a very personal preference and it is quite possible this approach works perfectly for other readers.

Overall I would call this a well plotted, well written and sensual romance.


When I decided to start a separate blog for the erotic books I was reading and reviewing the idea was that it would mean I could express myself more freely, without having to worry about offending anybody. An age-warning flashing up before any person could actually access the blog should ensure that no unsuspecting innocents were suddenly confronted with material they really did not want to read. So far so good, and I created a blog named "If You Can't Stand The Heat". 

Now, about a week after starting that blog, I realise that it is, through my email address, linked to my general blog and my public identity. I also realised that I don't necessarily want to share all my thoughts on sex and erotica with the whole world. There are legions of people out there who wouldn't want to know about the spicier side of my reading and dreaming and who, if I'm honest, have no business knowing about it. I don't want to end up in a situation where I would have to defend my reading or my writing to people I work with or more conservative minded friends and family. I also didn't want to restrict myself in what I could write about, just to avoid shocking people and/or getting myself into trouble.

And that leads to the creation of this blog. With a new identity and unrelated account I now feel free to post whatever springs to mind, kinky or otherwise. I intend to have a lot of fun in this blog and hope that my readers will have a similar experience.

The first few posts will be copies of reviews I had already posted on my other blog. After that, anything might happen here.